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Fears Of More Algae As Flows To Resume From Lake Okeechobee

The sun sets behind the lock and dam on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River. Photo by Amy Green

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More toxic algae is feared in coastal estuaries as water managers announce plans to resume flows from a water-swollen Lake Okeechobee.

The flows come after record rain in May pushed the state’s largest lake close to its highest level in more than a decade, with four months remaining of hurricane season.

Water managers plan to minimize the impact by discharging lake water in pulses, simulating rain. Advocate Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch says she worries about the Indian River Lagoon.

“I hate to say this, but I don’t see this algae problem going away. I don’t see how it can, with the temperatures rising, and more people moving and the pollution. We’re going to be stuck with this for about 10 years.”

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency this week in seven counties in response to the algae, some of it toxic, blooming in Lake Okeechobee and coastal estuaries.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and ... Read Full Bio »